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Advanced Manufacturing

Service Territories. Foreign Trade Zones. FTZs.

If you’re involved in global trading, you’ve probably heard of them. Maybe you’re even familiar with the two active zones serving Greater Cincinnati. But few people fully understand the advantages and ROI that participation in an FTZ can bring to their bottom line.

Put simply, FTZs are secure physical U.S. locations that share one simple goal: To level the playing field for U.S. companies doing business abroad.

Congress introduced Foreign Trade Zones in 1934, and the “zone” itself can range in scope from a simple loading dock to a vast warehousing complex; that part is up to the companies occupying the space. Those designated FTZ companies can conduct business outside U.S Customs territory — thereby eliminating, deferring and/or reducing tax and trade duties on imported and exported merchandise.

Businesses in Greater Cincinnati have the unique advantage of accessing both the Greater Cincinnati FTZ #46 (serving Brown, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties) and the Northern Kentucky FTZ #47 (serving Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties).

“Our two Foreign Trade Zones are highly utilized, with multiple companies taking full advantage of their benefits,” says Melissa Johnson, vice president of industrial development and logistics for the Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority, which serves as the managing entity for our region’s two FTZs. “It’s an advantageous program that we want to make sure is not a well-kept secret.”

Perhaps the most powerful benefit, according to Johnson, is the considerable savings companies can retain by doing business within one of Greater Cincinnati’s FTZs.

“If a company is looking for ROI benefits unrelated to traditional incentives, our FTZ program can enhance their bottom line and help them to be more globally competitive,” Johnson says.

How do you get in? Any company with import volumes greater than 500 shipments or $3 million per year is eligible, but here are a few lesser-known facts that are unique to the Greater Cincinnati region’s two active zones:
  • The Ohio FTZ (46) boasts an annual volume of about $11.4 billion and exports $1.6 billion.
  • The Kentucky FTZ (47) has an annual volume of $10.2 billion and exports $1.4 billion.
  • Combined, nearly 20,000 people work in these two zones.
FTZs 46 and 47 currently support companies selling machinery and equipment, oil and petroleum, textiles and footwear, vehicle parts and consumer products.

Ready to learn more about the benefits of joining one of Greater Cincinnati’s two Foreign Trade Zones? The application process is straightforward, and the first step for any companies interested in joining a local FTZ is to tap into REDI Cincinnati’s extensive research and expertise with regard to site selection and state and local incentive programs.

Visit the Greater Cincinnati Foreign Trade Zone online to learn more, browse qualification requirements, access an online savings calculator and more.